Community News

Leadership Students Connect Holocaust Survivors

Pictured: Arnie, a survivor, spoke to Kennedy students.

Photo courtesy the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District

John F. Kennedy High School juniors Arielle Polk and Jenna Feig hosted a program with 12 Holocaust survivors who shared their stories with Leadership II and III students through conversation on May 21.

“The program is an extension of their civic-action project where they advocated for mandatory Holocaust education in the United States by writing to their federal representatives,” explained teacher Brad Seidman.

Polk and Feig said they found the organization through BBYO, a teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences.

“We thought it was important to make sure that our fellow students know this [the aftermath of the Holocaust] is an ongoing situation,” Polk noted.

“This is why we need to continue holding programs like this so that more people need to hear it so they can continue hearing their stories,” added Feig.

The activity was coordinated in conjunction with Selfhelp Community Services, which serves thousands of survivors in the area.

“This is one of the most rewarding collaborations I have been a part of,” said Julie M. Lauer, LMSW, director of the Queens & Nassau Holocaust Survivor Program. “While we know the students will be learning from the survivors, I contend the rest of us will be leaning from you [students] as well. After today, you are a part of their stories.”

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